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How to Password-Protect A Folder on Mac

By Carrie Murray, Monday, February 04, 2019

We all have some confidential or private documents and files in our MacBooks, iMacs or Mac Minis. We need to lock them so as to protect our information from being stolen.

This tutorial will introduce two methods of password protecting a folder on Mac. One is to use Disk Utility to create a locked disk image of the folder so that anyone needs a password to open the folder. The other is to use an dedicated app - FonePaw Hidata - to encrypt a folder. After encrypting the folder with Hidata, the folder will be invisible from anywhere of your Mac. Only after your have entered the password can the folder be unlocked and revealed.

A encrypted disk image is not secure enough and also there is limited storage space in the disk image, thus you can't freely increase files in the locked folder, that's why some users choose Hidata, a more convenience way to lock folders with password.

1. Disk Utility: creat a password protected disk image of the folder

Disk Utility is a built-in app in MacBook that can password lock our folders.

Step 1 Open Disk Utility via Spotlight or locate it on Application > Utilities.

Step 2 Click Disk Utility and select the File tab on the top. Choose New Image > Image from Folder. On the prompted window, select the folder you need to protect with password.

Create A New Disk Image with Disk Utility

Step 3 Select Read/Write in the Image Format menu and choose "128-bit AES encryption" or "256-bit AES encryption" as the Encryption type. The former is faster while the latter is faster.

Step 4 A pop-up window will require you to input your password twice. Name the locked disk image and click "Save".

Password Protect A Folder with Disk Utility

Now you can delete the original folder. From then on, you can accees the folder from the locked disk image with password.

So far, You've eventually encrypted your folder into a locked disk image after these inconvenient and complicated operation.

2. Hidata: a more secure way to password lock folders on Mac

Hidata can password lock a folder with higher security level. Once a folder is locked in Hidata, the Mac system won't be able to recognize the folder, thus the folder will be invisible from your Mac and no one can see the folder without password. Meanwhile, unlike password protecting folder with Disk Utility which is not user-friendly enough, Hidata comes with user-friendly interface, which lets you lock your folder by just tapping a few buttons. In the followings, I will give you a brief introduction for your reference.

Download and install Hidata on your MacBook, iMac, Mac Mini running on macOS Mojave, High Sierra, Sierra or earlier.


Step 1: Creat A Password

Open Hidata and create a password, with which you can lock your secret folders. Also, enter a password hint that can remind you of the password.

Set up Password

Without the password, you can't open Hidata and access the password protected folders inside it. Therefore, always remember the password that you created.

Step 2: Password Protect A Folder

There are 2 ways to lock a folder with password on Hidata.

  • Open Hidata, drag and drop the folder you want to encrypt to the empty area.

  • Click "+" icon within a circle in the center of a dotted-line rectangle and select the folder you want to protect.

Drag and Drop Folder to Lock

Once the folder is added, the folder will immediatly disappear from its original location and is now password protected.

Tip: Or you can right click on the left column to make a password protected folder. Then add files into the secret folder.

Click Add Folder

Step 3: Check the Password Protected Folder

Now that the folder is password protected by Hidata, to view what's inside the folder, you need to launch Hidata, enter your password and find the folder you need.

Unlock Hidata

If you have pictures or videos in the password protected folder, you can browser them directly on Hidata.

Check Photos in Locked Folder

But if the folder is locked with documents or other files and you need to access the contents, just temporarily unlock the document or file by toggling off the blue button beside the file. The file will be unlocked and show up on your Mac again for you to edit or view it normally.

Check Documents in Locked Folders

Don't forget to toggle on the hide button to lock your secret files again.

That's how to password protect folders on Mac with or without Disk Utility. Which method do you prefer? Write down your comment to let us know.

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